Nick Dakota – Sledgehammer


The release of Michigan native Nick Dakota’s latest single and accompanying video “Sledgehammer” is a great way to set the table for his future. His pending second album will surely build on the promise shown with this track, a thrilling mix of modern country rock sensibilities mingled with more than a strain of traditional country music influences. Dakota’s charisma on a recording comes through all the more strongly on film – listeners who have experienced a tough time turning away from his music will find he has an even more compelling stage presence that’s difficult to look away from. This combination of songwriting with visuals is also an indication of the five star qualities we can expect from Dakota on future recordings and productions. This is a performer obviously aiming for the highest level of success he can experience and there’s no effort spared in getting him there.

The lighting for this video makes an otherwise unremarkable sound stage come off like the ideal setting for this performance. There’s obviously a great deal of thought that has been put into the staging and it clearly complements the songwriting and Nick Dakota’s stage style alike. He’s a force of nature from the first, clearly reveling in the music, reacting to its peaks and valleys, relishing its muscular drive. Dakota has a band of likeminded performers around him who react to the music with equal physicality. It’s a great song for provoking those sort of reactions. “Sledgehammer” pops and crackles and the musicians and singers alike seem to get an electric charge from hooking into its rhythms and textures. The lack of any other gimmickry in the video to help sell the song says something about Dakota’s intentions – there’s definitely a lively sense of fun propelling this track, but Dakota’s also a performer who demands to be taken seriously and puts himself out there with enough authority to make that a credible goal.

Good material makes for good videos. “Sledgehammer” has the striking sense of the visual in both its music and lyrical content that makes it a natural fit for the medium. Much of the filming focus naturally fixes itself on Dakota, but there’s ample attention paid to the other musicians and they all serve the song to excellent effect. Another great aspect of this song is the broad based appeal it has – “Sledgehammer” is a tune capable of getting over with a country music audience or any music fan who enjoys spirited and memorable pop rock. It’s roots are quite obvious and the use of an instrument like banjo further underscores that point, but the song nonetheless comes off as quite modern. Nick Dakota’s “Sledgehammer” will whet the appetites of his fans until the new album hits and undoubtedly win over some new fans in the process. This is a voice that’s only going to get stronger with each new release.


Shannon Cowden